I don’t understand people who say they don’t want to retire. Especially those who have the means to and just don’t. If I had the choice I would have retired yesterday.
Now, when I say retire, what I really mean is having the freedom to be able to do whatever I want, whenever I want, without worry of financial burden—a form of Barista FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) if you will. I feel as if I will always be wired to make money to support myself and my family.
Merriam-Webster defines retirement as: withdrawal from one's position or occupation or from active working life.
Retirement should be the part of life when the most difficult thing to do is nothing. Yet, for a lot of people, they are completely consumed by their work life and don’t leave any room for their home life. So, when they reach retirement age, they don’t know what to do with themselves. They realize that they’ve lost their work identity and may have never really had a true home identity. The goal should be to retire from work, not your life situation.
I’ve previously worked with people who had worked at the same job for 40-50 years and still weren’t even considering retirement—and they had millions of dollars saved, I think. I suppose the reason for this is they need the community and interaction—without it they struggle. They have an identity crisis. I understand this—sort of. I rarely talk with my co-workers outside of working hours. My work friends remain work friends. We should all be seeking relationships outside of our work friends to build our community and home identity.
We should also be seeking out what we truly love to do. Think about your hobbies for a second. What do you enjoy doing the most? For me, I thoroughly enjoy woodworking and building things. I also enjoy gardening, playing golf, tweeting, and trading stocks. If I retired, I would be doing all of these things on a daily basis and would have no problems keeping busy and enjoying myself. If you don’t have any hobbies outside of your work life, you need to start building some. Watching Netflix doesn’t count.
Unfortunately, most of us don’t have the choice to retire, even if we wanted to. Either we don’t have enough money saved up or maybe there are some other external factors—an illness or having to be a caregiver for a family member.
According to an AP poll conducted earlier in the year, 1 in 4 people expect to never retire. And nearly half of those who voted think they will be “not very or not at all” prepared for retirement.
These statistics are kind of pitiful to me because I like to be optimistic for the future and want everyone else to feel the same optimism for their own future. I understand that not everyone has the greatest job or grew up in the safest neighborhood. And these factors make it hard to save retirement.
Add rising medical costs on top of that and it starts to become more understandable why people haven’t saved enough to support themselves through retirement age.
I ran a similar poll on Twitter yesterday and got a bunch of interesting replies from the people who said they would never retire. I agree with a lot of their responses.
To sum it up: If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. Retirement is a state of mind. Never retire your mind.